The personal Rolex wristwatch of Donald Healey (1898-1988), founder of the Healey marque and manufacturer of the much loved Austin-Healey motor cars, will be offered at Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale, taking place 6 December 2015.
The watch, a 9ct gold Rolex Striped Prince, inscribed on the reverse ‘Donald Healey, Perranporth’, has been passed down through the generations, and is now offered directly from the grandson of Donald Healey. It is offered with an estimate of £8,000-12,000.
Donald Healey was born in Perranporth, Cornwall. From an early age he had a passion for engineering, gaining an apprenticeship with Sopwith Aviation, that lead him to fly as a Royal Flying Corps pilot in the First World War. In the early 1920s, he started racing cars with considerable success, initially in the London-Land’s End Trial, the Land’s End-John O’Groats Rally, and subsequently through the 1930s in international events such as the Alpine Trials (winning seven Glacier Cups). “Donald was justly proud of such rallying success,” said his grandson, Peter Healey. “The Rolex was a reward to himself.”
Before founding his own company, Donald worked for British motoring brand, Triumph. It was here that he honed his skills, and masterminded the development of the Triumph Gloria, and designed the beautiful straight-eight, supercharged Triumph Dolomite, which he then drove in the Alpine Trial of 1936.
In 1945, Donald founded his own company, which initially created Healey cars. In the 1950s and 1960s, he developed Austin-Healeys, and in the 1970s, the Jensen-Healey. His Rolex watch has remained with the Healey family throughout, and it is now offered for the first time since Donald acquired it.
“The Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale presents a fantastic selection of motor cars, including two of the most important Austin-Healeys ever offered. We’re delighted to announce the inclusion of Donald Healey’s personal Rolex to this exciting sale.” said James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director. “To offer the Rolex Striped Prince, worn by the great man himself, plus his much loved everyday car – the 1953 Austin-Healey 100/’100S’ Coupe, and the 1959 Works Rally 3000 ‘SMO 746’ – is simply extraordinary.”
“By paying homage to the art deco style of the 1920s and 1930s, Rolex Prince watches became an instant hit,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams UK Head of Watches. “Only a small number of the latterly developed ‘Striped’ Prince watches, also known as the ‘Tiger Stripe’, were produced, making this model extremely rare. It’s unsurprising Healey chose to reward himself with such a timepiece, as these particular wristwatches were an excellent, but refined, statement of one’s success.”
Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place on Sunday 6 December at 101 New Bond Street. For further information, visit Bonhams.